Jan 29, 2022 filed under Living Virtue.

Evangelize while informally chatting

Lynda Rozell, author of Journeys with a Tin Can Pilgrim (https://tincanpilgrimbook.com/), was a guest in my Virtue Circle women’s zoom group last Sunday. She travels around the country in her Airstream trailer going where the Holy Spirit leads (she adds that her Spiritual Director also keeps her on track). I call her “The Stealth Evangelist.”

As she goes from campground to gas station to rest stop, God puts people in her path. Their interactions go from quick, friendly chats while hiking to long talks over tea or at night around the campfire. The conversations often touch on faith.

Too scary
Evangelization can be a scary word. Early in my own conversion I announced, “I’m not standing on a street corner with a bullhorn asking people, Do you know Jesus?”—because that’s what I thought evangelization was. And I knew it repels more people than it attracts. Not me!

Not scary
But Lynda’s “soft evangelization” is something we all can do. And we can do it without adding anything to our to-do list! It doesn’t take time, it just takes a little prayer and practice.

Even if our travels are only round trips to the grocery store, we’re not so different from the Tin Can Pilgrim. God puts people in our path all the time. Like Lynda, we can weave our love of God into our demeanor and conversation, just by being ourselves. We just need to remember that we’re planting seeds, not chalking up visible results. God gives us the seeds, but the fruit is all up to him.

That was tough for Lynda at first because she had been a project manager used to measuring results. But she had to let go of that. The benefit of not racking up visible results is that we can relax and just pray, love God in the person we’re talking to, and leave the converting up to God.

Below are some simple ways Lynda gently shares the Good News, who is Jesus Christ. My comments are in italic.

10 easy ways to evangelize (softly)

When someone shares her pain with you, ask if you can pray for her. If she says yes, add, “Okay, let’s pray right now.”

Ask people to pray for you. It’s surprising how even non-believers are touched by this request and will say, “Oh! Okay…sure.”

Just think—it may be the first intentional contact they’ve made with God in their lives.

When you feel joy in creation, comment on what a beautiful sunset or blue-sky God has created today.

When things go wrong, be the one who stays calm. When Lynda shared a canoe with a guide in Florida, the guide dumped the canoe over getting out to help someone in the alligator-infested water. Lynda went in, too, and came out with legs covered in swamp mud. The guide later asked her why she wasn’t upset. She explained that she has a great guardian angel and knows that God put her there that day for a particular reason. “Just be honest,” she adds. “If you’ve integrated faith into your life, don’t hide it.”

If you bring up the subject of faith and the person rejects it, gently ask him, “What do you believe?” This is an opportunity to listen and let him be heard. He may even follow with a question about faith.

Pray before meals at home and in public.

Soon after my conversion, I was at lunch with a man who silently bowed his head for a moment before digging in. My heart was so moved by his simple devotion, I’ve been doing the same ever since.

If you have to decline an invitation or leave early from an event to get to Mass, be honest if someone asks why. In Lynda’s case, when a fellow camper asks where she’s going so early in the morning, she tells them she’s on her way to daily Mass.

Invite people to Mass, especially if they have accepted your offer to pray for them. Lynda says, “Even if they say, ‘That’s okay…but let me know how it was,’” you’ve planted a seed.

Let the saints plant seeds for you! A couple of fellow campers told Lynda they had been trying to sell their house for a year and the deals kept falling through. Lynda suggested that they ask St. Joseph to pray. Although they were Presbyterian, they said, “We’ll try anything at this point.” They did, and came back to the campground excited after a few days home—the house had sold for even more than they had been offered before.

There is more power in a baptized person in a state of grace then we know. Your presence as a “walking tabernacle” is felt as God’s presence. Even if they don’t recognize it, the Holy Spirit is working through you—by just being yourself.

Scroll down and share one thing you’re doing or think you’d like to try—to let the Holy Spirit work more powerfully through you in your everyday life.

Love always,

Rose and Lynda at a Catholic women’s conference last summer.Rose and Lynda, the tin can pilgrim

16 Responses to “How to Evangelize in a Non-scary Way”

    • Pat Friedhoff

      I plan on asking people to tell some things they would like me to pray for for them. Hoping to remember to do this each time I say good-bye to someone.

  1. Karen Anne Froehlich

    Great ideas and shared thoughts. I have tried some of these and they work! Of course, God can do all things…..let Him use us! Thank you.

  2. Linda Hartzell

    I learned a lot from Lynda at Virtue Circle, as well. What a spirit-filled lady!

  3. Doris

    At present, I love to share with everyone The Chosen and Fr Mike Schmitz The Bible in a year. They usually hear my enthusiasm and ask how they can get involved. I send them the links to see for themselves.

  4. Rita Joyce

    Just being myself is more powerful than I sometimes realize. Others see me and are drawn to something, Someone, beyond me. Sometimes this scares me! Then I humbly accept that I am evangelizing just by “being” who I am … A disciple of Christ!

  5. Barbara

    It gets easier as you get older. What an encouraging, practical, helpful message!

  6. Kathy

    Thanks for this Rose. I think I might be a little pushy about my beliefs sometimes. I never thought about just planting a seed.

  7. Rose Marie Galaviz

    I want to thank you. During this time of my spinal surgery recovery I spend a great deal of time praying about where and what I done in my life to server other and when I fully recover what I can do. The beautiful ways The Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph have been with me always. At this older age I began to see for I feel more at peace now. Yes the many life we touch with Jesus though us is amazing. The sharing of the Rosary is very powerful, and the Divine Mercy, and never really pushing any one. Again thank you I really appreciate your sharing.

  8. Jan

    Another beautiful reflection with great ideas to help us plant the seeds in our ordinary daily lives! Thank you Rose, thank you Lynda.

  9. Martha Racketa

    I was handed a Chaplet of Divine Mercy the day my children were baptized and now hand the Chaplet out as a ministery. I leave it with my tip at a restaurant, to those at the drive thru windows, to the homeless on the street corner, when I worked in an office I had a box where people could take one or more, when I went to college I gave them to fellow students, to the people I see in a car broke down on the side of the road, as a Eucharistic Minister at the hospital to the patients I see, whenever the Holy Spirit provides an opportunity.

  10. Louise

    I wear my The Chosen gear and when they ask, what it is, I tell them, and let them know how to access it, it’s FREE!

  11. Tom Roberts

    There was only one form of evangelizing that influenced me, and that was an action on my part: observation of a Christian life being lived. It happened several times and involved several priests, several religious, and several friends. That’s what drew me in; seeing something too good to miss out on.

  12. Erin Benbennick

    One I’ve read recently (and am trying to implement) is to attribute God as the source when I receive a compliment. For example: “You have FOUR BOYS? How did you manage?”…. “God knew me well enough to not give me girls and kept my patience tank full!”